Low Bono Incubator


The justice gap in Washington for moderate income families is growing. These individuals need legal assistance, but make too much money for free legal services and cannot afford to pay for a market rate attorney.

Seattle University School of Law is the only law school in Washington with a Low Bono Incubator Program that seeks to fill this gap. Since 2013, the incubator has provided training, guidance, and resources to help alumni launch and maintain a solo or small firm practice designed to serve moderate-income clients by offering reduced-fee, high-quality legal services.

Through the program, selected alumni will have the opportunity to "incubate" a law practice for 12 months for the purposes of creating a sustainable, successful low bono law practice. Applicants should have graduated in the past five years to be eligible for participation.

For one year, each attorney will benefit from:

  • Office space in downtown Seattle for the receipt of mail and service of process, conference room availability to meet with clients and conduct depositions
  • Access to experienced practicing attorneys who can provide mentoring in their particular areas of practice and on running a law practice
  • Support, guidance, and encouragement from Program Director Stan Perkins ’85
  • Peer support through monthly meetings with cohort and director
  • Low bono curriculum in the form of bi-monthly CLEs geared at practical skill building and the tools necessary to launch and sustain a successful low bono practice. These will include: Hang Your Own Shingle, Marketing, Depositions, Fee Agreements, Discovery, and 10 Common Mistakes of New Attorneys
  • All alumni privileges of the law library plus a free borrowing membership
  • A one-year subscription to the case management software CLIO and Westlaw
  • Numerous networking opportunities

Applications for the 2019 cohort are due Dec. 6, 2018.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants for the Low Bono Incubator Program must:

  • Be a graduate of Seattle University School of Law
  • Be licensed to practice in Washington state and be in good standing
  • Have malpractice insurance or plan to get malpractice insurance
  • Have not yet started their low bono practice or are within one year of starting their practice at the time of application
  • Be committed to having at least 60% of their clientele be people of moderate means

The program's first cohort of attorneys started in 2014. Learn more about our past and current incubatees including their contact information, or learn more about specific cohorts by year: 20142015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

How do I apply?

Eligible applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed application (PDF)
  • Résumé
  • Business plan for your low bono law firm (no more than three pages)

How will the incubator attorneys be selected?

A selection committee will carefully review and evaluate each application and determine finalists who will be interviewed in mid-December in Seattle. The committee will use the following criteria:

  • The attorney's passion for running their own law practice 
  • The viability of law practice and business model
  • The attorney's commitment to serving a certain moderate income client community
  • The diversity in areas of practice and background of individuals within the cohort

Questions?

Contact Cindy Yeung at the Access to Justice Institute at yeungcy@seattleu.edu.